The success of creative and marketing projects relies on the harmonious workflow of various moving parts. Many disciplines come together to collaborate according to an established schedule. It’s not easy, and its success ultimately hinges on a great review and approval process. Here’s a look at the way you can master this stage of the project:
Review and Approval Process in Digital Projects
There’s no doubt, working on digital projects is challenging. Version control is a big potential pitfall. And the acquisition of both internal and external feedback can be a daunting task that tests the patience of everyone involved.
Thankfully, you can follow established processes to make sure the review and approval process goes smoothly. Here’s a look at a sample review and approval process you can adapt to meet the needs of your team.
Review and Approval Best Practices
Let’s start with the requirements for an optimized review and approval process.
#1 Define review due dates
It’s important that your project timeline establishes a definite, distinct time when your materials will go for review. This tactic ensures that work is conducted in a timely fashion, and that the stakeholders involved in this process are prepared.
#2 Determine responsible
One of the big challenges of digital review and approval involves managing the number of people who see the given material and request a change. It’s important that you take the time to clearly define who is responsible for reviews and restrict the process to those people.
#3 When will the edits be completed?
If your stakeholders understand when the edits need to be made, they will also understand that there’s a deadline for them to send their feedback. This tactic can help expedite the review and approval process, which will give your team time to make the requested edits.
#4 When will the final review happen?
The review and approval process could cycle indefinitely. So it’s essential that you build a final date into your project timeline to stop this dynamic from occurring.
Review and Approval Process
To help you define your review and approval process, here’s a closer look at what a general outline might look like:
1. The team makes initial proposals.
The creative team will get things started by submitting project proposals to the management team, who will then be responsible for choosing the best proposal.
2. The manager assigns tasks.
Once the team has accepted a proposal, the manager will be responsible for assigning tasks to the various team members and creating deadlines.
3. The team receives the tasks.
After the tasks have been assigned, team members will receive a notification. These members will then review the assignment and answer any questions they have.
4. The team submits initial drafts.
The creative team starts creating an initial draft that the relevant stakeholders will closely review.
5. The team requests changes.
After the team receives the initial drafts, there is a round of suggestions and changes. Generally, there will just be one round of edits. But if this round isn’t necessary, the submission is approved.
6. The team submits the final version.
Once the team makes the final amendments, it’s time for them to implement the rest of the changes and submit the final version.
7. The team brings the elements together.
Depending on the project, the team may need to incorporate a range of elements. Imagine this scenario: A video requires input from a designer, copywriter, and editor. In this stage, the team combines these elements and submits them for approval.
8. The submission is approved or rejected.
Once the final draft has been submitted, stakeholders will decide whether the submission is approved. If the work is approved, it’s ready for submission. If it’s rejected, further edits will need to be implemented until the stakeholders are satisfied with the project.
9. The project is completed.
Once the final version has been submitted and approved, the project is ready to be published.
How to Master Every Review and Approval Process
The general review and approval process has been outlined above, and it’s a serviceable reference. But the process will vary, depending on the type of material you’re going to review. Here are further tips to help you master each type of process:
1. Video Review and Approval
It’s challenging to work with video. The most common barriers that organizations face are large file sizes, slow internet speeds, and a lack of technical understanding from various stakeholders. Here are ways to resolve these issues:
Tip #1: Find the right tools.
First and foremost, you want to make things as simple as possible for everybody involved in the review and approval process. In other words, you should use simple file formats, reduce file sizes, and eliminate the use of complex software.
If you invest time in resolving these complexities, it can significantly help make life easier for everyone in the review and approval process, regardless of his or her level of technical ability. Now you can focus on getting the feedback you need, rather than resolving codec errors.
Tip #2: Encourage common vocabulary.
Video engineers may struggle to implement feedback because it’s unclear, and it fails to accurately articulate a thought. To make life easier, you should do your best to make sure that everyone uses a clear, common vocabulary.
Your video engineer might understand what a bridging shot is, but if everyone is using technical language, confusion may occur.
Tip #3: Craft clear feedback.
You should collect feedback throughout the review and approval process, and it should be simple, accurate, and clear. In other words, you need to find a way to package feedback and deliver it to the video engineer in a predictable way.
So you should include timestamps, measurements, and any other technical information, which can help save time and eliminate guesswork.
2. Document Review and Approval
This step can be particularly challenging if the copy is simultaneously reviewed by various stakeholders. Therefore, these stakeholders are responding to copy that has already been altered, which can cause results real headaches for copywriters. Here are tips for cleaning up the process:
Tip #1: Source the best tools.
It’s critical that your stakeholders use the correct tools in the right way. If a single stakeholder fails to track their changes, you could lose lots of time, since other stakeholders will edit the incorrect versions of copy.
Tip #2: Define a review order.
Simultaneous editing can be problematic, despite the software you’re using. If your stakeholders are reviewing and suggesting changes at the same time, it can create confusion for everybody involved.
If you’re using Word documents, you’ll want to make sure the document is passed from one stakeholder to the next, rather than dispatched en masse. This mistake can make it impossible to track and implement all the requested changes. If you decide to use a collaboration app such as Filestage, simultaneous editing won’t be a problem you have to worry about. Your colleagues and clients can easily leave change requests at the same time without struggling with overlapped feedback.
Tip #3: Don’t neglect version control.
When compared to video and graphic content, most stakeholders will have opinions about how to improve the copy. This fact can be challenging, so you should be sure to accurately track the different versions of your copy.
Once a stakeholder has requested a change, it’s common for another stakeholder to request that an older piece of copy replace it. So you should store all changes in a logical way.
3. Graphic Review and Approval
It can also be challenging to review the design of printed and digital materials. Without a clear idea of the review and approval process, you might find that some stakeholders will make suggestions about copy, and vice versa. This fact can disrupt your working process and frustrate your team. Here’s a look at ways to make this step go smoothly.
Tip #1: Rely on appropriate tools.
Again, it’s essential that you use a tool that’s capable of collecting accurate and specific feedback. This tip can expedite the speed of the implementation of requested changes.
If your graphic designer and art director are using printouts etched with markings in pen, it can be difficult to know where to start. Some stakeholders may fail to realize that this feedback is very difficult to interpret and implement.
Tip #2: Avoid large changes.
Graphic design is a laborious task that requires a lot of time. This tip is especially relevant if your coding was involved in your digital project, so your project timeline should accommodate regular review. Then when you reach the final review and approval process, no one will request large changes.
If someone requests a large change at this stage of the game, it can be very disruptive and threaten to derail the entire project. Then someone would have to readjust the copy according to those changes, and the quality of the work would suffer.
Tip #3: Monitor version control.
Remember, it’s very important for your designers and visual professionals to encourage everyone involved to track all of the versions and retain all of the files associated with the project. This tactic will help them undo any changes, and it also serves as a record of the implementation of requested revisions.
By keeping track of versions in this manner, you can keep the project moving along smoothly, and you can make sure that your team is happy with their work, rather than frustrated.
Review and Approval Software
As with any job, you have to make sure you obtain the right tools to have the best chance at succeeding. Here’s a glimpse at the top review and approval software:
Filestage makes it a breeze for creative and marketing agencies to simplify their workflow for the review and approval of documents, images, and videos.
Both internal and external stakeholders can use this tool, which makes it easy for project managers to secure the sign-off they need.
Dropbox is a modern workspace that’s designed to help teams securely share and store a range of files. By making it simple to share files and resources, this tool saves time down the line and protects the quality of projects. However, the premium versions are pricey.
WeTransfer is an effortlessly cool platform that makes it easy to send files to both internal and external stakeholders around the world. This company fosters collaboration among teams and offers a free version that allows you to send files up to 2GB. But if you get the premium version, the limit will significantly increase.
If you spend the time to fine-tune your review and approval process, it can really pay dividends. It helps reduce the possibility of losing time on a process that can often be cumbersome. It can also protect your team and boost the final results of your project.
Max is a SaaS enthusiast and loves actionable content that provides direct value.